News / Africa

IFAD Head Calls for People Investment

IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze visits a farmer in Kenya. Credit: IFAD
IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze visits a farmer in Kenya. Credit: IFAD


Joe DeCapua
The head of the International Fund for Agricultural Development says Africa’s greatest resource is its people. He calls on leaders to heavily invest in their workforce or risk continent-wide poverty by 2030.
Listen to De Capua report on IFAD president
Listen to De Capua report on IFAD presidenti
|| 0:00:00

Kanayo Nwanze’s comments come in an open letter to the 23rd AU Summit on Agriculture and Food Security. It’s being held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea through June 27.
He said, “Someone in my capacity, as an African as well, should be able to speak openly and frankly with our heads of state. I think it’s a moral obligation. It’s a moral imperative because I believe that Africa again is at the crossroads.”
He said that people are Africa’s best resource, including the 200 million between the ages of 15 and 24.
“Now that’s a very powerful resource base. And when you also realize that that population of 200 million young people – often times unemployed – if we waste their future it’s going to be a great loss for the continent. These are the future leaders of Africa. We have to give them hope. We have to give them something to look forward to. I think if we don’t sew the seeds for that hope now, we’re going to have a very explosive situation in the next decade.”
He said if African leaders don’t act now the continent will account for 80 percent of the world’s poor by 2030. A figure, he said, is supported by data from the World Bank and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
“Africa is the only region in the world where the numbers of the poor have increased,” he said.
Nwanze called on African leaders to deliver development now – with the priority on rural people.
“Food does not grow in cities,” he said, “Food grows in rural areas. If you do not invest in the youth, particularly in the rural areas – if you do not make agriculture attractive to them – to create jobs – to generate wealth – to give them some sense of dignity – what is going to happen? They will continue to migrate from the rural areas to the urban cities. You end up with what you call the urban bulge.”
He warned that could lead to many disenchanted young people living in slums and susceptible to crime.
“When we talk about poverty, when we talk about inequality in Africa, it is basically an inequality between the rural and the urban space.”
More than 10 years ago, African leaders committed to the Maputo Declaration. It required that at least 10 percent of national budgets be devoted to agriculture and rural development. The IFAD president says only seven countries have fulfilled that commitment.
Nwanze said such investment is critical on a continent where “20 states are classified as fragile and 28 countries need food assistance.”
He had three recommendations for leaders at the AU Summit: Make investment in agriculture and rural development a priority, including infrastructure, energy and roads; second, invest in education, particularly of women; and third, provide social services.

You May Like

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Report: US to Sail Warships Near Disputed S. China Sea Islands

Move will signal nonrecognition of Chinese territorial claims over area, Financial Times reports, citing senior US official More

Study Describes Ancient Deltas, Lakes on Mars

Research builds on recent NASA announcement that water flows on red planet today More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs